What is meant by comfort food?

Some people believe comfort food to be any type of dish that they associate with home cooking, while others, like restaurant owners or even chefs in their gleaming white chef shirts and chef coats who are the people who make this food in the restaurant wearing their disposable chef hats, see it as specific dishes such as macaroni and cheese or lasagna. It can also refer to the feeling one gets when eating this type of food; like being wrapped in a warm blanket on an icy winter day.

Regardless of what you think comfort food means, there are many reasons why we crave these types of foods from time to time; they may remind us of happy times in our life, make us feel safe and secure, or just satisfy something deep inside us, physically or emotionally. Comfort foods are usually high in fat and sugar, so eating these types of food too often can have negative effects on our health.

Some comfort foods include:

Chocolate chip cookies.
Ice cream sundaes.
Macaroni and cheese.
Grilled cheese sandwiches (with tomato soup).
Lasagna (or any type of pasta dish).
Pancakes with maple syrup or peanut butter sauce.

There are many reasons why we crave certain foods when we are feeling stressed out, overwhelmed, sad, lonely, happy, or excited. Some examples would be wanting to feel safe and secure, which is where the concept of “comfort” comes from. Lack or loss of something important like a loved one or job which trumps all other feelings at that moment in time such as hunger and thirst, is why we turn to food as a source of comfort.

People may need certain foods when they are feeling down or stressed out because it is something that makes them feel better; it helps ease their stress by providing them with energy (i.e., sugars). Eating carbohydrates can release serotonin into the bloodstream, which has been linked to feelings of happiness, and some have even termed this reaction “the happy hormone”. Many also eat comfort food simply for taste purposes.

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